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Pearl of a war game.

Byline: By Douglas Young

Title: Medal of Honor: Rising Sun

Format: Xbox

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Price: pounds 39.99

Looks like we've got a wartime special for you this week, with two very different games set in two very different wars.

First up we've got Medal of Honor - Rising Sun, the new game from EA's hugely successful Medal of Honor series.

I must admit I'm a huge fan of this series, but to date the only games I've played have been for the PC in the format of Allied Assault and its frequent expansion packs. Not that I think this is a bad thing - it won many awards upon its release and had me hooked until the very end of its last expansion pack.

With Rising Sun however, EA have put themselves into unchartered waters, or should I say Pacific waters.

The previous games have largely focussed on the war in Europe and Germany's eventual defeat by Allied forces.

Not so Rising Sun, which, as the name suggests, engages the forces under the Imperial flag of Japan.

Upon loading the game, you're treated to a very nicely put together intro showing a relaxed beautiful day in Hawaii. But as history has shown us, this wasn't to last, so keep hold of that controller!

As the intro ends with your character jumping from his bunk aboard his ship in Pearl Harbor, the game begins immediately with your ship rocking from the attack raging above.

So it's now a case of getting topside and with a little help from characters aboard, you wind your way through burning galleys and smokey corridors until you emerge among the chaos.

Once on deck, I took a small run to my left to man an anti-aircraft gun and began the task of taking down the fighters, bombers and torpedo planes before they could destroy my ship.

However, as the game dictates, you find yourself blown off deck by an explosion and eventually manning another gun aboard a PT boat as it races around the harbor.

Now it's a case of taking down the planes while the boat's pilot narrowly dodges ships trying to escape the devastating attack.

Unfortunately, the Pearl Harbor mission, even though the outcome is pretty much set, is the most exciting level I've played so far in the game.

Once complete, Rising Sun returns to its usual first-person format, with missions set from most of the major Pacific theatre battles.

Here you'll find yourself either on your own or with a small team and tasked to take on half the Imperial Japanese Army to complete whatever objectives are asked.

These objectives can include everything from destroying artillery to sinking a Japanese Carrier and killing anyone you come in contact with.

In that respect, I don't think Rising Sun is about to win any awards for clever design, with not even a hint of a covert mission, as far as I've seen.

Another problem is that head shots are not rewarded with instant kills, rather the Japanese soldier will stumble slightly before attacking again. In fact some of the Japanese troops can take a stupid amount of bullets before having the decency of dying at your feet.

That said, we have to remember that Medal of Honour is and always has been an arcade-type game, although more so on console than the PC's slightly more realistic conversion.

So Medal of Honor has once again turned out a pretty solid performer, with decent graphics and enough gameplay to keep even the most talented gamer occupied for hours.

The look: 7/10

The feel: 7/10

Overall: 7/10
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 30, 2004
Words:603
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